Health Notes

Health Notes with pictures of Dr. Lori Hansen and Dr. Michael Pietila


Your health is our top priority and Yankton Medical Clinic is committed to our patients and providing excellent health care in addition to making sure patients have the most up-to-date information available. COVID-19 is a topic on the top of everyone’s mind recently and our physicians are here for you and your family.

These Health Notes are updated frequently and you can trust that you have the information you need and are looking for. If you have questions about safety measures in place at any of our Yankton Medical Clinic locations, visit our COVID-19 webpage for more information.


May 4, 2020

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

There is now a blood test available to measure antibodies against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 disease.  This blood test checks for the presence of antibodies that indicate prior infection with the virus.  This test is NOT used for the diagnosis of COVID-19.  The nasal swab test is used for that purpose.  The presence of these antibodies does not definitely mean you are immune or unable to get the virus again.  The presence of these antibodies does not mean you are not contagious.  It is possible to spread the virus even with antibodies present.

If you had symptoms typical of coronavirus infection, fever or chills, cough, shortness-of-breath, body aches, sore throat, headache or loss of your sense of smell or taste you may have had the disease.  If you were exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 or you had it yourself this new blood test can tell us if you have the antibodies.  It takes the body about 10 days to make the antibodies so this testing should not be done when you are first ill or exposed.  We are recommending you wait at least 14 days from onset or exposure before you have this test.

So, if you are interested in knowing whether or not you have the antibodies to this coronavirus please contact your health care provider to discuss how to get the test done.  Your provider will determine if this test is right for you and will then order the test.  You will be instructed to come to the clinic or to our off-site lab at the Fyzical therapy building for a blood draw (available on specific day/times).  It is very safe to come to the clinic as we are not allowing anyone with symptoms concerning for COVID-19 in the building and we have precautions in place to protect you from any exposures.  The test is sent to the Mayo Clinic and we usually have the results in 2-3 days.  Your provider can arrange a Telehealth or office visit to discuss the results of the test and explain what the results mean.

Again, this is NOT for the diagnosis of COVID-19.  The presence of antibodies does NOT infer immunity and it does NOT change recommendations as it pertains to isolation, quarantine or the practice of social distancing.  The absence of antibodies does NOT mean you are not infected or contagious.  If you have the antibodies it simply means you were exposed and that information will help us understand how many people have been exposed or infected and help us to determine if someone who has had the virus once can get it again.

Lastly, patients with the antibodies will be eligible to enroll in a trial through the Mayo Clinic to donate blood which can be used to obtain plasma containing the antibodies so they may be given to patients that are very ill from COVID-19.  If you or your family members would like to be tested, please contact your provider at the Yankton Medical Clinic to discuss how this may be arranged.

April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Update

Although we have less than 30 positive cases in Yankton County thus far, models from the epidemiologists and other physicians in the state suggest that Yankton is expected to see a steady increase in cases during the months of May and June with a peak somewhere around the week of the 4th of July.  One model projects as many as 150 cases in the hospital at one time.  These models are designed to help us prepare for the “worst-case scenario” and we are doing so.

Yankton Medical Clinic and our providers will be here to take care of your health care needs, no matter how many cases we encounter.  We are offering multiple options for office visits including traditional in-clinic visits as well as telehealth optionsAll Yankton  Medical Clinic locations have precautions in place to prevent exposure to other people when being seen in the office.  If you would like to be seen please call ahead and an appropriate appointment will be arranged.  We are here to meet your health care needs.

Yankton Medical Clinic and Avera Sacred Heart Hospital are actively planning to resume some elective surgical procedures in the near future.  We will do so with the utmost caution being careful not to expose patients or providers to any unnecessary risk.  If you receive correspondence advising you to schedule a procedure, recognize that it is deemed necessary and it is safe to proceed.  As always, if you have concerns, do not hesitate to call and discuss these concerns with your provider.

To learn more about COVID-19 including the virus, the illness and potential treatments watch this video provided by Stanford University School of Medicine and presented by Dr. Michael Z. Lin.


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